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January Roundup: ‘Player’s Choice’

…for an exciting roundup. This month’s theme was ‘Player’s Choice’

This month, we’re interested in hearing about self-regulated or self-inflicted rules. For instance, do you take stealth games so seriously that any detection causes you to restart from the last save point? Or maybe, when you played Skyrim you completed the game without once using a melee weapon? Alternately, perhaps you refuse to run left in side scrolling games – no backtracking allowed. Maybe you only ever allow yourself to rotate Tetris pieces two times. Maybe you played with an all female cast in Fire Emblem? Maybe, just

July 18th

…obvious opponents frequently depend on the idea that erasure is the solution to the problems that games pose and that some measure of satisfaction is derived from such erasure. Indeed, a similar pleasure is evoked in a seemingly less destructive game like Tetris.

Paul Sztajer, now blogging at Fabula Ex Machina, writes in ‘A Matter Of Perspective’ about the separateness of gameplay genre from the issue of perspective. He says,

There’s an innate problem in defining the narrative form of a game: the gameplay genre may point towards one form, while the narrative essence of the…

December 9th

…you up.”

Virtuosic Realities

This week’s selection offers a critical look at a much-maligned topic, opening the door for future critical work.

  • Gamasutra: Angelica Ortiz de Gortari’s Blog – Embracing pseudo-hallucinatory phenomena induced by playing video games Angelica Oritz de Gortari discusses her research on Game Transfer Phenomena as well as the evolving view and reception of hallucination, both in general and by way of specific games like Tetris Effect.

“The enhancement and the alteration of the human senses is nothing new, and the technological realm has not escaped the trends to…

God of War (2018)

…testosterone-soaked glory.

Daniel Starkey, in a retrospective article for Digital Trends, highlights some issues with the game’s combat mechanics, and especially, with its puzzles:

… puzzles aren’t always as clever as you’d hope: There are some brain-teasers, sure. One, for instance, involves a bunch of Tetris-style blocks that you need to piece together to unlock a door. And that’s well enough, but also can’t help but feel a little contrived. Many ancient civilizations built bizarre and ridiculous temples and structures, but none, so far as we know, made contraptions like this. Compared to all the thought…

May 2020

…games, from Tetris to Wilmot’s Warehouse to inventory management systems in e.g. Resident Evil and Stardew Valley, to discuss why “organisation” might be something we enjoy in games when it’s more-often something that drives us up the wall IRL. (Manual captions)

Take Notes, Designers

The following few share the theme of being about how game-makers can make certain things easier for certain players, sort of. Could they have been collapsed into the above section? Look, possibly, but then we’d have an extremely long section, and that would be no good, no good at all.

  • Should…

July 2021

…(youtube) that has little in the way of in-house community building tools for creators, it’s always nice to see collaborative efforts like this. Yeah, I’d probably pick Tetris too. (Autocaptions)

  • Dead Space 2 Still Feels Like A New Game – Jacob Geller (24:16)

    Jacob Geller highlights the reasons Dead Space 2 has stuck around in his head — namely for its single-shot diegetic camera, successful “everything-on-the-menu” approach, and memorably spectacular and unsettling set pieces. (Manual captions) [embedded advertising] [Note: gruesome needle-eyeball scene ew]

  • How Gris Became My Favorite Game – evanonline (11:51)

    Evan reconciles the strong

  • January 3rd

    …have always been so isolating.

  • Thousand Threads: Only Connect – Uppercut Emily Price contemplates a game world which purports to remember your actions, when the primary language of interaction with that world–violence–proves itself so insubstantial in the end.
  • Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 Is a Reminder of How We Maintain our Relationships | Paste Waverly muses on the structure that multiplayer games provide in the building of life-long relationships.
  • Signs of the Sojourner: Mapping the Distance Between Words – Uppercut Axel Hassen Taiari digs into how Signs of the Sojourner–a deck-building game on the face of things–succeeds as…
  • April 30th

    …Greer chats with developer Brianna Lei about authentic representation, her writing influences, and the gayest sport.

  • Cozy games are getting darker | Polygon Nicole Carpenter tracks the emergence of a new subgenre through a blend of interview and analysis.
  • “Almost in spite of itself, Dredge has a warmth to it that pulls it into the cozy genre. It’s the loop of its simple fishing minigame that leads into a cargo hull-sized game of Tetris. It’s the fishmongers and fellow seafarers who buy your fish and fix your ship. These are the elements of community and consistency…